ARLINGTON -- They have been pouring concrete for the Rangers' new ballpark at one o'clock in the morning."We pour concrete early in the morning, usually 1 a.m., due to less traffic so we are not impeding on the residents of Arlington," said Jim Cuddihee, vice president of operations for Manhattan
ARLINGTON -- They have been pouring concrete for the Rangers' new ballpark at one o'clock in the morning.
"We pour concrete early in the morning, usually 1 a.m., due to less traffic so we are not impeding on the residents of Arlington," said Jim Cuddihee, vice president of operations for Manhattan Construction. "It is a lot of trucks, and it's cooler in the summer. We also hang the precast seating tubs at night, so we can take advantage of the cranes we already have."
Yes, they are installing precast seating tubs at Globe Life Field, the Rangers' $1.2 billion ballpark that is scheduled to be completed on March 1, 2020. The construction continues almost around the clock at the 13-acre site, and on Tuesday, the crew took a short break to celebrate the one-million man hours that have already been put in by the 800-850 construction workers who show up daily, except Sunday.
"Give the guys a break, let them spend time with their families and get some rest," Cuddihee said.
The new ballpark will have a roof, just like AT&T Stadium down the road, so fans can sit in climate-controlled comfort to watch the Rangers play. But there is no roof for the construction workers. Some may show up in the middle of the night, but others are there working in the afternoon heat of a Texas summer. The construction parking lot looks like a giant pickup-truck convention
"We had a pretty warm summer here, this year was exceptionally warm," Cuddihee said. "That takes a toll on the guys out here working eight to 10 to 12 hours a day, so a lot of them were coming in at two or three in the morning to beat the heat. In the last couple of weeks, it seems like it wants to rain every other day. That has a little bit of impact, too."
But the stadium is on schedule, and it's 25 percent complete less than a year after the Sept. 28 groundbreaking.
"Keep in mind, it took us six months just to dig the dirt out of here," said Jack Hill, the Rangers' vice president of project development. "We broke ground last year at this time, and for six months, we were digging a hole. In some sense, what you see now is what we have done in six months."
What has been done is 85 percent of the concrete is in place to fill the lower bowl. Above it, 14 cranes are being used to put the structural steel in place for the upper decks as Globe Life Field slowly rises into the sky.
There was 1.3-million cubic yards of dirt removed to start the project and 10,000 cubic yards of concrete used for the lower bowl. Approximately 35,000 tons of steel will be used, 16,000 for the upper structure and 19,000 for the retractable roof.
"We certainly have been pleased with the progress," Hill said. "Credit the subcontractors. We have some good subcontractors. A lot of these subcontractors worked on AT&T. Some even worked on Globe Life Park. We have a good group of guys, we know them all, they are familiar with us. Credit Manhattan with organizing the project.
"I feel very fortunate where we are. Credit all the men and women who work night and day, they have worked tirelessly to get us where we are today. We are very grateful for that."
The big challenge is about to begin. While the structure is still being constructed, work is about to begin on the retractable roof that is the No. 1 reason why this ballpark is being built.
"Our biggest milestone is to be able to start the roof on time," Hill said. "The roof on these projects is always the critical part. It's got the moving components, you've got to get a certain amount of structure up before you start the roof. Hitting that milestone is key. If you miss that milestone, it throws the whole thing off."
Getting the roof started on time is, well, only the beginning.
"It's got its challenges," Cuddihee said. "Way up in the air and out in the middle of nowhere. We've got challenges, but we've got a good plan working with a steel partners. At the end of October, we'll be bringing in the largest crane in the United States currently. We'll start getting that set up -- it will take three weeks approximately to get set up -- and it will be used to erect the roof."
T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.